Best of 2019 #57: Chelsea McBride’s Socialist Night School – “Aftermath”


Composer Chelsea McBride has previously received warm words on this site for her modern take on the big band recording.  She has deftly shrugged off the gravitational pull of jazz past and how a big band jazz album should sound.  Much like counterparts Darcy James Argue, Brian Krock, and Ben Cottrell, McBride incorporates modern influences and approaches, and pretty much annihilates all preconceptions of what the big band medium should be, and, instead, illuminates what could be.  Her 2019 release Aftermath is the stronger, cohesive grand vision that previous recordings flirted with.  The impression of a running narrative exists throughout, and the eccentric flourishes have settled into the body of the compositions so that their personality shines strong without blinding the listener to all else.  Aftermath is one of the best big band recordings of 2019, and a reason to be hopeful that the medium will continue to evolve, and thrive, as we dive into 2020.

Your album personnel:  Chelsea McBride (tenor sax, conductor, composer), Colleen Allen (soprano & alto saxophones, piccolo, flute, alto flute), Naomi Higgins (soprano & alto saxophones, flute, alto flute), Alison Young (tenor saxophone, flute, clarinet), Patrick Smith (tenor & soprano saxophones, flute, clarinet), Conrad Gluch (baritone sax, bass clarinet, contrabass clarinet, alto flute), James Rhodes, Justin See, Tom Upjohn, Kaelin Murphy (trumpets, flugelhorns), William Carn, Aidan Sibley, Jill Richards (trombones), Nicholas Sieber (bass trombone, tuba), Alex Samaras (voice), Chris Bruder (piano), David Riddel (guitar), Steven Falk (acoustic & electric basses) and Geoff Bruce (drums).

The album is Self-Produced.

Music from Toronto, Ontario.

I wrote about this album for The Bandcamp Daily.

Cool album cover artwork by Arthur Ikuta.

Listen | Read more | Available at:  AmazonBandcamp